Ex-Quebec premier Bouchard joins list of high-profile critics of values charter
Published Friday, October 4, 2013 1:41PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 4, 2013 9:35PM EDT
Former Quebec premier Lucien Bouchard is the latest in a line of high-profile Quebecers speaking out against the controversial values charter -- or at least saying it should be toned down.
In an interview with La Presse published Friday, Bouchard says the charter goes too far in its bid to ban public servants from wearing overt religious symbols.
Instead, Bouchard urged Premier Pauline Marois to reserve the ban for people in positions of authority, including police officers, judges, lawyers and prison guards. He also suggested the crucifix be removed from the National Assembly.
“It is possible -- I would say even probable -- that the National Assembly would vote unanimously to a compromise,” Bouchard said in an interview conducted in French. “It would be a triumph. Instead of dividing Quebecers, it would unite them.”
Bouchard’s public views on the proposed bill comes a day after his predecessor, Jacques Parizeau, made similar recommendations in a column he penned for a Quebec publication.
Bouchard and Parizeau’s recommendations were endorsed by the CAQ, but the party questioned the PQ’s willingness to adapt.
“We don’t know if they want to move,” said CAQ MNA Nathalie Roy. “We think that they just want to make the fun last so they can go into an election on that, and that’s not a responsible way to govern.”
As the debate continues over the ban, Quebecers are becoming increasingly fed up with the debate, says Jack Jedwab, of the Association of Canadian studies.
“I think ideally Quebecers would like to find a way to resolve it, and Mr. Parizeau and Mr. Bouchard have offered something that is probably closer to what Quebecers can come to some agreement about,” he said in an interview with CTV Montreal.
Quebec political analyst Jean Lapierre says time is running out for the PQ to choose its strategy.
“Either they accept the compromise and they can work with the CAQ, or they need a wedge issue, and so they don’t compromise at all, they write a bill and then they table it and call an election,” Lapierre told CTV Montreal.
But Marois refuses to show her hand on the matter, saying her government is still considering its options.
“We will have to think about the issue, we will have to do the summaries of all point of views we received until now, and in some weeks, we will present the project as we will hope it will be accepted by the population of Quebec,” she told reporters Friday.
With a report from CTV Montreal’s Tania Krywiak